The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force (DEITF)

The discipline of anthropology aims to understand human diversity and the common origin of our species. In GW’s Department of Anthropology, we are making efforts to create more inclusive work and learning environments to support critical conversations about the ongoing inequalities in our society based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, ability, and age - and to dismantle systems and practices that have promoted those inequalities. We acknowledge that the legacy of anthropology has been harmful to many communities, especially to Black and Indigenous peoples. We also recognize our responsibility to transform our current practices to confront and rectify the history of exclusion in our discipline and institutions by promoting a culture of equity and inclusion enacted in our hiring practices, mentoring of trainees, teaching philosophies, and approaches to research.

The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force (DEITF) is composed of graduate students, undergraduates, staff, and faculty in the GW Department of Anthropology. The work of the DEITF is to collect resources on diversity and inclusion, engage with existing campus groups, and incorporate diversity and inclusion awareness into curriculum, research, and day-to-day department affairs. This group is a focal point for the development, implementation, and assessment of diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the department.

Our goal is to foster the inclusion of diverse and historically underrepresented groups in anthropology at GW while simultaneously reckoning with the ways in which these groups have been systematically excluded and marginalized. Our ongoing work is collaborative within the department and across the university to keep diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of decision making and education.

Goal 1

Develop research topics that address questions of human diversity and attendant issues of historic and systemic injustice, violence, inequity, discrimination, and privilege.


  • Plan speaker series, colloquia, professionalization seminars, and symposia that are inclusive, and directly address diversity (e.g. bias, discrimination, harassment, assault, violence, inequities, exclusion)

Goal 2

Rework our curriculum by including diverse and underrepresented scholarship, sources, and methods.


  •  Train faculty on syllabus creation, classroom comportment, and styles of discussion. Training will be reinforced on an annual basis and will form a key part of our individual and collective work. 
  • With student consultation, hold regular workshops for faculty to revise readings and course content, pedagogical styles, and requirements for undergraduate and graduate programs. 

Goal 3

Diversify our faculty, research teams, and student body through the recruitment and retention of people of color and underrepresented backgrounds.


  • Increase the proportion of faculty of color and from underrepresented backgrounds. We underscore the need for a series of simultaneous hires within anthropology and across GW because research on diversity initiatives indicates this is the best way to recruit, support, and retain faculty of color and other underrepresented faculty.
  • Support undergraduate students of color and from underrepresented backgrounds by providing research opportunities for them in our labs and eliminating as many barriers as possible.
  • Train faculty on recruitment strategies and everyday modes of workplace interaction. Training will be reinforced on an annual basis. 
  • Advocate for GW to end its reliance on standardized tests (e.g. GREs, SATs, TOEFL, IELTS) for admissions and fellowships.
  • Develop holistic admissions and other practices to promote increased diversity, equity, and inclusion in graduate student recruitment, admissions, and retention.

Goal 4

Produce an inclusive and supportive department environment that accounts for and works to dismantle systemic forms of discrimination, inequality, and exclusion.


  • Work with College and University fund-raising staff to develop resources to increase diversity and inclusion through recruitment, support, and increased funding (in the form of named scholarships and research funds) for students of color and of underrepresented backgrounds at undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Develop and implement a benchmarked means of assessing whether students and faculty members of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds are supported in their departmental and university-wide work. This will be undertaken on a regular basis.